5 Ways You're Inviting Snakes Into Your Car, Experts Warn
You could be attracting snakes in more ways than you realize.
Snakes are sure to be an unwelcome surprise no matter where you go, whether that's your yard or even inside your home. But one of the last places you want to see this creepy creature is in your car. No one wants to be stuck with a snake in such an enclosed space—especially while they're driving. And while you can't totally prevent this pest from seeking shelter in your vehicle, certain mistakes could be making you more of a target. Read on to discover five ways you're inviting snakes into your car.
You're leaving your engine running.
Snakes are cold-blooded, which means they'll often try seeking out warm places, says A.H. David, a snake expert and founder of Pest Control Weekly.
"As reptiles, snakes depend on their environment to regulate body temperature," David explains. "A warm engine is a good heat source."
So on those cooler summer nights or chilly early mornings, you don't want to leave your engine running for no reason. Of course, your car may stay warm for a bit even after you turn it off, so David also recommends that people "try parking in their garage" to make it harder for snakes to access vehicles.
You're parking near tall grass or wooded areas.
If you have to park your car outside a garage, there are particular places you should still avoid. Snakes will often hide out in yards that have tall grass or wooded areas, as these are "natural habitats for many snake species," David tells Best Life.
"If your car is parked nearby, it's easier for a snake to crawl in," he warns. "Try to park in cleared areas, away from tall grass or woods."
You're leaving your car windows open.
As the weather heats up, you may be tempted to leave your car windows cracked so you're not stuck climbing inside a sweltering vehicle every day. But even leaving just a small space open in one window could provide attractive access to a snake, Georgina Ushi Phillips, DVM, an advising veterinarian and writer for The Reptile Room, says.
"Snakes could be interested in your vehicle because of what's inside, but in many cases, they're just looking for a safe and secure place to take a break and your car can be the perfect hiding spot," she explains.
With that in mind, Phillips says you should be careful about cracking your windows—especially if you're in a snake-heavy space.
"Snakes can use tree limbs or other nearby objects to get easier access to your vehicle," she adds.
You have a lot of clutter in your car.
A messy car is no deterrent for snakes. In fact, it's quite the opposite, according to conservation scientist Charles van Rees, PhD.
"Clutter provides more hiding spots for snakes," Rees explains. "The more places they have to conceal themselves, the safer they feel, and the more likely they are to stick around."
This means things like "loose clothing, boxes, and general trash" should be removed from your vehicle if you're trying to avoid a snake problem, Phillips advises.
"Not only that, but many of the prey that snakes like to eat, like rodents, will find the same conditions appealing," she says.
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You're keeping food inside the vehicle.
It's not just general clutter you need to watch out for in your car, however. You should also avoid leaving behind any type of food, according to Phillips.
"Snakes have an amazing sense of smell and even a small bit of food remains can bring them to your vehicle," she says.
"There's a lot of human food that snakes are happy to eat, and even if they don't want your leftover french fries, they'd be more than happy to eat the rodents and bugs that are going after your leftover lunch," Phillips adds.
And it's not just human food that's cause for concern.
"Many snakes will find your pet's food just as appealing (if not more appealing)," Phillips explains. "Most people don't think much about leaving a bag of dry kibble in the car and grabbing it later, but if you're in snake country this isn't a good idea."